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La Salle-Peru senior libero Abby Turczyn (left) digs up a ball while teammate Taylor Gibson looks on in Thursday’s Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division match in La Salle. The Lady Cavs won to finish unbeaten in the NIB 12 West. NewsTribune photo/Chris Yucus
Another check mark was etched on the La Salle-Peru volleyball team’s accomplished goal list in Thursday’s regular season finale.
The Lady Cavaliers’ 25-9, 25-6 victory over Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division foe Streator gave them the prestigious 10-0 undefeated conference record.
“It was one of our biggest goals — we wanted to go undefeated in the conference — so it was always kind of in the back of our head, just working toward it,” said junior outside hitter Shana Puetz, who had seven kills and three digs. “We all worked hard as a team, it was something we wanted to get to. It feels really good to get here.”
L-P (29-3, 10-0 NIB12 West) displayed its desire to finish with a perfect conference mark from the first whistle.
The first three points of the game were scored on a kill by L-P sophomore outside hitter Taylor Gibson and two more by junior hitter Cierra Johnson.
Streator scored on a kill from senior Morgan Sharisky to make the score 3-1, but it was the closest the score would be for the rest of the first set as L-P scored the next eight points to build a 11-1 lead.
The Bulldogs were never able to get back in the game as L-P scored on kill after kill to take the set.
“I think it was part of it being Senior Night and we just all wanted to show respect and pride for our seniors, so we really wanted to play our best for them and for them to have a really good experience their last night here,” Puetz said.
L-P didn’t lay off the throttle in the second set.
The Lady Cavs started the set on a 3-0 run before the Bulldogs scored three out of the next four for a 4-3 L-P lead.
Then, like in the first game, L-P went on an 8-0 run to bust the set open at 12-4 and never let up en route to the winning the set and the match.
“Our last three matches we have played very well as a team,” L-P coach Mark Haberkorn said. “We are very efficient on offense and our defense is reading exceptionally well. Our defense is really at a point where it seems to be difficult for other teams to find open spots.”
L-P senior middle hitter Rachel Hunt finished with a team-high nine points, four kills and two blocks, while senior setter Katie Olson added seven points, seven digs and 23 assists. Senior libero Abby Turczyn chipped in six points and seven digs, while senior serving specialist Josie Kampwerth scored five points.
With the last regular season game out of the way, the Lady Cavs are focusing on adding an exclamation mark on the year with a successful postseason.
“We came out strong, then we had our little lull in the season,” Haberkorn said. “Now we’re starting to pick up our pace again. It’s not a long season, but there are a lot of matches and an emotional toll on the girls. It’s a quick game, a fun game and I think we seem to be at the point where we want to be right now.”
Note: The L-P sophomore squad defeated Streator 25-15, 25-14 to finish the season undefeated at 34-0 and 10-0 in the NIB12 West. The L-P freshman Red team won 25-18, 25-20 to finish the season 25-5-1 and 9-1 in the NIB 12 West, while the L-P Green squad fell 25-22, 15-25, 15-13 to finish the season 10-13, 7-3 in the conference.
Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6995, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.
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